University of the South Pacific's Cook Islands campus director Dr Debi Futter-Puati. 20041407.
While universities around the world are seeing a sharp decline in enrolment, USP Cook Islands has seen a huge increase thanks to a government initiative.
The University of the South Pacific’s Cook Islands campus
has had an increase in student numbers due to government’s support in paying
for certificate level courses.
According to the university director Dr Debi Futter-Puati
(PhD): “We had a 500 per cent increase in student numbers due to the Cook
Islands Government intervention of paying for certificate level courses in
semester two (2020).”
And Futter-Puati says the university is “very excited” to
hear that government is extending payment of those already enrolled in Fees
This will help the students continue with their studies and
complete their certificate qualification, she adds.
Futter-Puati said the 2021 academic year would start with
semester one studies on February 22.
At the moment they are holding some summer school classes
and are continuing with some of the Fees Free courses.
As part of some of the summer school classes, each day they
will have a Cook Islands academic presenting for one hour.
Academics who have presented so far are Dr Ake Nicholas, PhD
candidate Eliza Puna and Dr Evangelene Daniela-Wong.
All the academics are either PhD's, Associate Professors,
Professors, or renowned researchers. Their presentations are based on their own
research and their take on an indigenous Cook Islands approach to their work.
“I believe it might be the first time so many Cook Islander
academics have come together to share their knowledge,” Futter-Puati said.
“The lucky recipients are those teachers completing their
Diploma of Pacific Vernacular Languages: Cook Islands Maori who will then
proceed to undertake an action research project of their own related to reo
Kuki Airani over the first two terms of the year.”
Orientation for a new computer course starting with the
Centre for Excellence in Information Technology will be held this afternoon
(Friday) – and 64 people have enrolled for this course.
The university has increased the number of courses available
and courses have not been reduced due to Covid-19, Futter-Puati said.
USP’s vice-chancellor and president Professor Pal Ahluwalia
in welcoming students to 2021 said the university’s academic programmes are
internationally recognised. Professor Ahluwalia said the university is ranked
in the top 50 universities from the Oceania region.
And to keep up with the demand, he said the university is
upgrading its regional network with higher capability routing with powerful
server systems to provide enhanced resourcing for regional campus online
services at all campuses. This, Professor Ahluwalia hopes, will provide impact
to the university’s teaching, learning and research services to regional member
countries such as the Cook Islands.